By Walter Broeckx
This article is part of the series of the Referee Review 2013. You can find links to earlier articles on the bottom of this article.
For the next ref in our series we have ref Lee Probert. Ref Probert has been in the PL for a few years now (since 2007 to be exact) and he is 41 years old. In fact we find a lot of refs being 41-42 years old for the moment. So we will be seeing him around for a few more years.
In the season just gone ref Probert did 24 games in the PL and we reviewed 15 of his games. That is 62,50% of his games we have been able to cover. So high enough to draw some conclusions on this ref. So how did he do when we look at all the decisions?
In those 15 games we reviewed we have seen that Probert had to make 2306 decisions in total. Our panel of referee reviewers found that he had 1898 of the decisions correct. This is one of the lower scores we had in the PL. Mind you this is better than last season but this might be down to what I will tell you next.
Of course for those who have been following us for a while, you know that judging them as correct is not the same as being correct completely. When we can’t judge a call or when we are not 100% sure he made a mistake we call the decision correct. But it might be that if we had seen other angles we might have seen an incorrect decision. So in general the numbers could be even flattering the refs but this goes for all the refs and not the refs we are looking at today.
But having some kind of decent general score is one thing. What matters more is seeing how his important decisions have been and this is something we can see in the next table.
And now things are starting to look a bit depressing. Let us start with the good things. Or thing. As the only good thing and I use this in the loosest possible way is the goal decisions. Yes it is the most important decision and of the 42 goal decisions in total he had to make he had 40 correct. So only two wrong goal decisions. But just imagine it is your team losing with 1-0 as a result. Then you will not say that it is a great job.
And for the rest… Foul/free kick decisions are not even above 70%. This surely is not acceptable.
His penalty decisions are not the worst in the PL but still only getting 50% correct is a big cry for help from some kind of video ref. Probert could do with that I feel.
And when it comes to giving yellow and red cards…. it is way below what we can expect from a ref in the PL.
Last season his numbers weren’t great and this season it has gone from bad to worse.
Let us see if he made up for these bad decisions by evening it out for the teams he had to do on the field. A low bias score indicating that he split up his multiple errors could save him a bit.
But as you can see the bias scores are rather high for some teams. Newcastle, QPR, Stoke and Everton are the ones with a rather low bias.
Fulham, Manchester City and Aston Vila are a bit the mirror of each other with a bias that one could still call acceptable.
But if we look at teams like Southampton, Wigan, Sunderland, Manchester United and Norwich we see a very big bias in their favour. With Norwich being very much on top of the list.
And on the other side of this bias scale we see Swansea and Tottenham with already a worrying bias against them. Reading surely looked in trouble when he was around.
And when we look at the numbers from WBA and Arsenal…it is all ending in tears I think. The numbers against Arsenal are a constant line in his career by the way.
What more can you say about this ref? Well maybe that he finds himself low in the referee decisions table at the end of the season. And I have heard a rumour that Probert has been in the bottom two of the referee merit table from the PGMOL for some 4 or 5 seasons. And by their rules a ref that is in such a position for 2 years running he should be demoted.
Yet Probert still is in the PL, spreading his bizarre refereeing decisions uneven over a lot of teams.
And if I may give a personal comment on something that happened a few weeks ago when Bellamy found it funny to empty a water bottle over the head of Probert when there was some kind of delay in the game and Probert just found it funny.
I was gutted for the fact that Bellamy would do such a thing which showed a total lack of respect for a match official. It just showed that there was no distance between the players and officials as there should be. And I was completely amazed (or well….looking at his numbers maybe not really) that Probert just found it a great joke and laughed with it.
You don’t touch an official and you don’t try to make fun of him on the field. This undermines his authority and Probert allowed it. He should have given him a red card and shown to the world that a ref on the field is untouchable and can be an object of mockery from the fans but not from the players on the field. What will be next? Kicking the ball against the ref ‘for fun’? Giving him a slap ‘for fun’?
I really wonder why the PGMOL keeps him in the PL. Unless he is doing what they like that refs are doing? Maybe his bias table shows the answer…